Being a star player in the National Football League might bring fame, fortune and glory, but it can also mean insecurity—and a lot of moving around.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has had a volatile journey: first getting abruptly traded to the New England Patriots in 2016 from his rookie, two-year stint at the Detroit Lions, then getting a lucrative deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 only to be cut after one year. He’s currently back in New England under a two-year contract with the Patriots.
Mr. Van Noy, who is 30, and his wife, Marissa Van Noy, who is 29, have figured out a way to turn the instability into an advantage: Flipping houses.
“It works for someone who has to pick up and go all the time,” says Mr. Van Noy.
The couple, who met in Utah when Mr. Van Noy was a sophomore playing for Brigham Young University and Ms. Van Noy was a freshman studying business at Westminster College, have learned how to spot good-value properties, close to sports facilities and with lots of privacy, and how to estimate repair costs. The couple live in each home while Ms. Van Noy renovates it, and then they sell for a profit when they have to move again.
Since 2015, the couple have bought and sold three houses, making almost $2 million in net profits. They are in the process of renovating two houses: a five-bedroom, four-bathroom, two half-bathroom, 5,100-square-foot, traditional house they bought for $2.21 million in Canton, Mass., and a four-bedroom, 4½ bathroom, 3,200-square-foot house they bought in Santa Monica, Calif., where Mr. Van Noy trains in the offseason. They intend to sell both in the next few years, perhaps to other professional athletes with similar needs.
For Ms. Van Noy, flipping has turned into a career—one she says is better suited to an NFL spouse, a role that comes with almost daily team events and social obligations, than her former career as a model, which demanded travel. She recently started a design firm with her mother and sister.
“It’s a chance for me to have a real business while Kyle is in season,” she says. “This way, wherever we go, we can both be successful.”
Sports has become a lucrative subcategory in the real-estate brokerage business over the past decade. Because professional athletes move so often and make good money, big real-estate companies like Compass, Sotheby’s International Realty and Douglas Elliman have created separate sports divisions, with agents treating the players like they treat entertainment celebrities.
“I’ve helped some clients with more than 10 transactions each,” says Ben Moss, the national director of Compass’s sports and entertainment division. He manages 125 real-estate agents and has personally handled about 600 athletes and coaches with over $3 billion in sales.
Real estate has also become a major part of the financial planning advice the athletes get from their agents and business managers, says Stephen Rhodes, managing partner and founder of Signify Wealth in St. Louis. He spends a lot of time explaining the benefits and drawbacks of ownership versus rentals and how to determine whether a property has good resale value. Mr. Rhodes tries to steer athletes away from renovating because they don’t have the time for project management.
Continued on: The Wall Street Journal